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Stateside
10:24 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Detroit News columnist talks about Duggan and Bing

Dave Bing in the office he'll be leaving soon.
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

In less than two weeks, Detroit will have a new mayor.

Mike Duggan's term begins January first. Outgoing Mayor Dave Bing has been making his "farewell tour" around Detroit.

What is the Bing legacy? And what might we expect from his successor?

We turned to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes for some perspective.

Listen above.

Read more
Stateside
9:54 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Listen for a list of good winter reads by Keith Taylor

Keith Taylor
Robert Turney

This is the week we say farewell to autumn and officially welcome winter. (Unofficially, we can all agree, winter has arrived early and seems to have settled right in for the duration.)

And one of the great pleasures of changing seasons here on Stateside is the chance to welcome back poet and writer Keith Taylor. Taylor coordinates the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan. But we like to think of him as our Friendly Stateside Reading Guide.

Listen to Keith’s book pics above.

Stateside
3:07 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Exploring "Ballroom Culture" in Detroit

The cover of Marlon M. Bailey’s book.
UM Press

What is “Ballroom Culture”? Well, a surface definition might be a culture that centers on a competition where black LGBT individuals dress, dance and vogue - competing for prizes and trophies.

But there is more to Ballroom Culture as my next guest spells out in his new book "Butch Queens Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance and Ballroom Culture in Detroit.”

Marlon Bailey is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and American Studies at Indiana University. And he brings another perspective to his writing -- that of a black gay man who grew up in Detroit and who was deeply involved in Ballroom Culture.

Listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
3:00 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, December 19th, 2013

There are currently more than 45,000 people in prison in Michigan, but most of us will not experience what life is like behind bars. On today's show, we spoke with prisoners at the Michigan State Prison in Jackson to get their perspectives on life in our state.

And, then, later in the hour one of our favorite writers joined us. Keith Taylor gives us his picks for winter-time reads.

First up we talk with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes. In less than two weeks, Detroit will have a new mayor. Mike Duggan's term begins January first. Outgoing Mayor Dave Bing has been making his "farewell tour" around Detroit. What is the Bing legacy? And what might we expect from his successor?

Stateside
4:39 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

We check in with those in Michigan looking for health insurance

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

It was October 1 when the Healthcare.gov website opened for business.The rocky launch of the public portal to the Affordable Care Act has consumed much of the nation's attention and news space.

The December 23 enrollment deadline is at hand. That's when you have to have signed up if you want a policy by January 1.

We wanted to see if the consumer experience with Healthcare.gov has improved - see what problems remain - and find out how many of us have been able to complete applications and actually select a marketplace plan.

Don Hazaert joined us today. He's the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. It's one of four navigator agencies in our state for the Affordable Care Act.

You can find the agencies here.

Hazaert said, no question, there have been significant frustrations with the enrollment process, but that has changed since December 1. The Healthcare.gov website is working much better. Hazaert says those people who have signed up since December 1 have had a much smoother experience, especially those signing up with a new account.

Navigators are still trying to work with those individuals who started the process prior to December 1. We asked so of our listeners about their experiences with signing up for health care coverage.

Tom is 57 and lives in Ann Arbor and has been out of work for a year and a half. He's been paying for health insurance out of pocket for himself and his wife. It's been very expensive. His insurance company helped him sign up on Healthcare.gov. He received a subsidy to help him cover his costs. His online experience was good. 

"The price of the new policy is about half the price of the old policy and the deductible is about half as well, so I'm in a win-win situation as far as that's concerned," said Tom.

Diane Kay is 33-year-old attorney from Brighton, MI. She had a job change and hasn't been insured since 2007. She has a pre-existing condition so insurance companies wouldn't cover her, or it was prohibitively expensive. She's still paying back a lot of debt she incurred from a stay in the hospital. She got insurance through Healthcare.gov in November and said the process was not difficult.

Sasha Acker is 22-year-old social worker from Kalamazoo. She works part-time and doesn't get insurance from the company she works for. She had an extremely frustrating experience with Healthcare.gov, but was eventually able to sign up for coverage. She's excited to have insurance but has not been able to log back in to make her first payment. 

"I called in about six times, and they told me basically that since they made a bunch of upgrades to the website some of the accounts got corrupted and people can't access them anymore. Nobody has a solution for me," said Acker.

Don Hazaert with Michigan Consumers for Healthcare says Acker will need to make a payment before the start of the New Year to get her insurance.

He says her frustration is most likely with the 800 number she's calling and that he suggests she get in touch with a health care navigator in Michigan.

Hazaert says in 2014, they look forward to moving the conversation away from a troubled website to the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network.

Stateside
4:34 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Latest survey tells us how many of our teens actually smoke, drink, and take drugs

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been conducting this study for 36 years.
United Nations Photo

How many of our teens actually smoke, drink, and take drugs? And what kinds of drugs and tobacco products are they using?

That's what the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse seek to learn in their annual surveys of 40,000 to 50,000 teens in grades 8, 10, and 12.

The latest Monitoring The Future survey was released today.

Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator for the project, joined us today. He’s with the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

Politics & Culture
4:27 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

On today's program, a major new study  finds attitudes about drinking, drugs and tobacco are changing among teens, and some of the results might surprise you. Then later in the hour, a new group is trying to make Michigan's Legislature go part-time. Forty-six other states have done it, should Michigan?

 But first, it was October first when the healthcare.gov website opened for business. The rocky launch of the public portal to the Affordable Care Act has consumed much of the nation's attention and news space. The December 23 enrollment deadline is at hand. We wanted to see if the consumer experience with Healthcare.gov has improved - see what problems remain - and find out how many of us have been able to complete applications, and actually select a marketplace plan.  Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, joined us today. It's one of four navigator agencies in our state for the Affordable Care Act.

Read more
Stateside
3:54 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

One group believes switching to a part-time Legislature will be good for Michigan

Norm Kammeraad is the Chairman of the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature.
Screenshot parttimemi.com

Should Michigan revert to the kind of legislature originally called for when Michigan voters drafted the first constitution in 1835?  A part-time legislature? 

Norm Kammeraad says absoluetly, yes.

He is the Chairman of The Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature. They’re hoping to gather nearly 400,000 voter signatures between January and June in order to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.

Yesterday, we spoke with Michigan columnist Dennis Lennox. He is against a part-time Michigan Legislature. You can find that interview here

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:43 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

It's time to unplug during the holidays

The judge who caught the juror says it's a problem that is likely to get worse.
Alton Creative Commons

Here we are, one week away from Christmas, and two weeks away from the New Year.

The folks who work retail are busy, busy, busy, but many other workplaces are going to see a mayor "thinning of the ranks" as we take our holiday breaks.

But, how much of break will we really get? Yes, we may be sitting at home, or out of town at Grandma's. But, there is that Great Big Umbilical Cord that connects us with the office: technology!

The smart phones, email, iPads, laptops they all keep us tethered to work. What's that "constant connectivity" really doing to us?

We're joined by Sarita Schoenebeck, an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

Stateside
3:35 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Michigan musicians record Christmas CD to support children in need

It's December. That means the airwaves are filled with Holly Jolly Christmases, White Christmases, Jingle Bell Rock and that ever-present Little Drummer Boy.

So, in the interest of public service, we thought we'd present a way for you to hear some fresh holiday music, performed by Michigan artists. The CD is called "A Michigan Christmas of Hope."

Holy Cross Children's Services will receive every penny of money raised from the CD. It's one of the largest private providers of specialized schools and children's services in Michigan.

Devin Scillian is best known as the anchor on WDIV-TV in Detroit. But, he's also built quite a following as a singer-songwriter. And, joining Devin is Russ Russell of Holy Cross Children's Services. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
5:13 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Why the quality of life for Michigan's children is stagnating

The quality of life for Michigan's children is not doing so great, according to the Kids Count report.
toshibatelecom toshibatelecom

Michigan's economy may be slogging its way up the hill towards recovery, but life is not getting as good as it should for children in our state.

That's the takeaway from the latest Kids Count report.

Here to tell us more is Jane Zehnder-Merrell. She's the project director for Kids Count in Michigan, part of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:11 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

How one author cut $1,000 from his monthly budget... and made it work

Could you cut $1000 from your monthly budget?
wikimedia commons

For many of us, the word “budget” is not on our favorite words list.

But as so many of us across Michigan discovered during the Great Recession, things can get mighty scary when there's a crunch and we don't have much in the piggy bank.

Detroit News Personal Finance Editor Brian O'Connor writes the "Funny Money" column, offering financial advice to his readers. During the Great Recession, Brian and his family felt the pinch. So he decided to find out if his family could cut its monthly expenses by $1,000. He has turned his experiment  into a new book  “The One-Thousand Dollar Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese."

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:09 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

What do local leaders think about right to work?

Right-to-work protestors outside the State Capitol last December.
david_shane Flickr

It was certainly a fiery, emotional scene at the State Capitol a year ago this month.

That's when the lame-duck Legislature and Governor Snyder rammed through the right-to-work law, and Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

So what do our local government leaders think about right to work?

Read more
Stateside
5:07 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Republican strategist says switching to a part-time Legislature would not be good for Michigan

The State Capitol.
Matthileo Flickr

Starting next month, the Committee to Restore Michigan's Part-Time Legislature says they will be looking for your signatures. They've got six months to gather 400,000 voter signatures to get a big question on the November 2014 ballot: Should we amend Michigan's Constitution to switch our state to a part-time Legislature?

We'll be looking at both sides of this idea. Today we welcome a Republican strategist who believes this proposal is not in the best interest of Michigan.

Dennis Lennox is a columnist for The Morning Sun and a public affairs consultant.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:03 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Should Michigan's Legislature go part-time?

Forty-six other states have done it. Now a new group is pushing for it here, but some argue a part-time Legislature could have disastrous results. On today's show, we talk about just how much time lawmakers should spend in Lansing. And then, just in time for the New Year, we'll get some money advice from the Detroit News' Personal Finance Editor Brian O'Connor. His new book is “The One-Thousand Dollar Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese."

But first we check in on Michigan's kids. A new report out today says life is not getting as good as it should for children in Michigan, even as the state crawls out of the Great Recession.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the Project Director for Kids Count in Michigan. It's part of the Michigan League for Public Policy. She joined us to tell us more about the Kids Count report.

Politics & Culture
5:28 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Stateside for Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Great recession and the accompanying housing meltdown changed the way many of us think about home-ownership. For decades, owning a home seemed to be part of the American Dream, but that dream has changed. On today’s show -- the rise of renters and what it means for the state’s housing market.Then, this month marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the most painful chapters in Michigan’s labor history. We explored the Copper Country Strike of 1913 later in the hour.

And, the U.S. birth rate is at a record low as more and more married couples choose to remain child free. We spoke with the director of the Childless by Choice Project about what goes behind this choice and what are the future consequences.

First on the show, Back in 2010, the State Board of Education approved the Common Core State Standards for Michigan — a set of math and English goals for K-12 students.

School districts across the state have spent the past three years integrating the standards into their curriculums. At the same time, we've heard a lot of political debate about Common Core, mostly about the involvement of the federal government in our classrooms.

But in October of this year, state lawmakers OK'd funding for Common Core, and now it is becoming a reality in Michigan classrooms.

We wanted to find out: What does this mean — day-in, day-out — for Michigan's students?

What does a school year under Common Core really look like?

Joining us is Naomi Norman, the executive director of Achievement Initiatives at Washtenaw Intermediate School District and Livingston Educational Service Agency.

Stateside
5:10 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Is it better to buy or rent a house in Michigan?

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

If you're a baby boomer, chances are you grew up with your parents pounding one basic truth of life into your head, and that truth was that you are always better off owning your own home rather than renting.

Well, the Great Recession and its housing meltdown certainly gave us some new thoughts on renting versus buying.

An Oakland County developer remarked that of late, he's seen more baby boomers deciding to skip home ownership and go with renting.

We wondered how things are looking in Michigan, the housing market and renting versus buying.

Daren Blomquist, Vice President of RealtyTrac, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:09 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Remembering one of the biggest tragedies in Michigan 100 years later

The town of Calumet.

An interview with historian Steve Lehto.

This month marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the saddest chapters in Michigan history. It’s called The Italian Hall Disaster, a terrible tragedy that happened on Christmas Eve, 1913, in the Upper Peninsula town of Calumet. Someone yelled "Fire!" in a packed hall and the resulting stampede killed 73--60 of them children.

It happened during the Copper Country Strike, one of the most painful chapters in Michigan's labor history.

The Copper Country Strike of 1913 and the Italian Hall Disaster is the subject of new documentary called “Red Metal,” soon to air on PBS. It is drawn from a book about the disaster called Death’s Door, written by Steve Lehto. He’s a historian with ties to the Copper Country that go back to that bitter time.

Steve Lehto joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:07 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

The U.S. birth rate is at a record low as more couples choose to remain child-free

Laura Scott, director of the Childless by Choice Project.
Facebook

It seems the Great Recession--the lingering economic worries, the slow-poke recovery--all of that seems to have made people more hesitant than ever to take "the baby plunge."

U.S. births are at a record low. Last year saw 63 births per 1000 women. Put that into context. Around a century ago, that figure was 127 births per 1000 women.

So we are at the lowest birth rate since the government started tracking America's fertility.

And our next guest is not surprised.

Laura Scott is a life coach, she's the author of "Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless By Choice." And she's the director of the "Childless by Choice Project."

Read more
Stateside
4:34 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Talking about the restrictions on abortion coverage passed by Michigan lawmakers

Michigan Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan
Thetoad Flickr

The Michigan House and Senate have approved a controversial law that will require consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage.

The question was put to the Legislature by a petition drive pushed by Right To Life, which was launched after Governor Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year. He vetoed that measure because there were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

But, because this 2013 version is a voter-initiated law, the Governor does not have veto-power this time around.

We caught up with Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network , to talk about this bill.

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